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Match Report : OPRFC 2nd XV 29-7 Twickenham II

Match Report : OPRFC 2nd XV 29-7 Twickenham II

James Sarek19 Nov 2023 - 16:03
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Saints grind out win against stubborn Twickenham

OPRFC Saints ground out a bonus point victory against a defensively solid Twickenham II to eventually win 29-7 on an overcast Saturday afternoon in South West London.

With the pitches at Perivale unplayable, a late change of venue was made with Twickenham now hosting the fixture, making pre-match preparation a little difficult for OPs. Despite this, they dominated the opening period of the game, having the lion's share of both possession and territory - yet they were unable to make any early breakthrough, with passes going astray and ball going to ground with regularity. Elvin Grant did cross the line following a typically barracking charge, but was ajudged to have knocked on.

The breakthrough came on the half hour ; Twickenham conceded a penalty within kicking range and debutant James Paxman put three between the posts, though not without needing help from the post to make sure. A 3-0 lead it was and so it stayed as the half time whistle below, a tight affair that saw little action in OPRFC's half but tremendous effort from Twickenham's defence to keep to within one score.

The Saints, having made a few changes during the break, came out with renewed vigour and picked up where they left off, looking to make their general dominance count. A try was finally scored 50 minutes in, the quick OPs phases seeing Ed Moss fall a metre from the line before quick thinking from Gabriel Kerr allowed him to dive over and score. Paxman added the two points to put the Saints 10-0 up.

Twickenham began to see more of the ball and made their first serious forays into OPs territory, yet were slow and ponderous with their recycling with runners becoming isolated. Having successfully soaked up the apparent pressure, good work on the blindside from Will Adams put captain Moss into acres of space, running in under the uprights from 50 metres in a very well made try. Paxman made sure once more and 10-0 became 17-0 with 63 minutes played.

Taking advantage of some apparent confusion in the Old Priorians defensive line, Twickenham hit straight back despite being down to fourteen men (via a yellow card), waltzing and wending their way through missed tackles to touch down near the posts, succesfully converted. With 15 minutes to play, there was potential for late drama.

Any real chance of this happening was dashed minutes later - an excellent carry from the base of the scrum by Grant at number 8 set the platform for quick passes - Adams sending out to James Ayson-Parish and then on to winger Lukas Robinson, who touched down for a well deserved try on debut (68'). A difficult touchline kick was sent wide by Paxman, but the lead grew to fifteen points, 22-7.

With victory more or less assured, the Saints were now in search of a bonus point. The signs pointed to another Twickenham score as they headed deep into opposition territory with five minutes to go, yet a poorly executed grubber was then gathered by Ayson-Parish, able to kick into space ; good football from wingers Will Poyntz and Robinson then saw them metres from the Twickenham line, and it was Avi Sohi's brilliantly angled run from an Adams pop pass that took him over the whitewash, his team now having secured maximum points from the game. An extra two for Paxman and 29-7 it was with the match advancing into its final stages.

There was still time for prop Rob Harvey to receive a yellow card with a minute to go, ultimately immaterial with an OPs knock on ending the game shortly after.

While this perhaps didn't seem like a 20 point win, the result reflects the 80 minute effort from OPRFC, who were up against a well organised side unlacking in endeavour. There were impressive debuts for Paxman, Robinson and loosehead prop Jack Brant, the last of these contributing to a general dominance in the scrums that has occasionally proven to be a sticking point so far this season. Will Adams received player of the match for a fine performance at scrum half, forming a good partnership with fly half Tom Raine with both in unfamiliar positions.

There is now a two week break before the Saints head to Chiswick for their next fixture in Middlesex Merit Table Division 1, OPs now up to fourth in the table.

OPRFC Scorers

T : Kerr, Moss, Robinson, Sohi

C : Paxman 3

P : Paxman

Further reading